Last week I went to Moscow to pick up our car for the journey. The criteria were quite simple: We needed a robust, all-wheel drive and reliable car which we can sell in Vladivostok. I would have loved to buy a nice car in Germany, but unfortunately it is crazy expensive to sell a used German car in Russia. The protective tax is almost as high as the price of the car itself so nobody would want to pay that.
We quickly narrowed down our choices to a Japanese car. Since Toyota, Mitsubishi were quite expensive, we decided to go for a Suzuki Grand Vitara. It’s quite popular in Russia, has a full 4×4 drive system and we think there will be no problems finding spare parts and selling it at the end of our journey.
Buying a car in Russia is an adventure by itself. You never know the real history of the car since people do not bother to keep service logs. It is also quite common to reset the odometer as well, so I went with mixed feelings.
Luckily I was assisted by an agency who helped me finding a suitable option. They are called Auto Expert (http://autoexpert-msk.ru) and were of some help indeed, although I did not have the impression that they really put a lot of effort into the search. I got offered only two cars in two weeks. Number two was the black Suzuki I decided to buy.
Finally on Friday I picked up Kolya (that’s our name for the car) from the dealer Avtogermes. (http://www.avtogermes.ru). The whole procedure took me about two days: one day for paperwork and insurance and one day for registering the car and getting license plates.
This is how a car looks like after one day driving in Moscow’s winter. I am replacing the front windshield here since it was cracked when I bought it. This means I can drive with 80 km/h max back to Berlin. I think that the roads in Russia will not allow for more anyways.
Back in Germany I will examine the drive components more thoroughly, but so far the car makes a good impression. More updates to follow soon.
Are you planning to do the Mongol Rally? Or maybe a similar trip by yourself?
To help jump-start your big adventure, we’ve put together all our research results, tips, hints and general useful information in one ebook.
Buy it now